Please recommend some poetry re: war

Specifically WWI. And preferably glorifying it rather than existential disdain. “Glorifying” is probably too strong, critical of war is fine too, but I was specifically looking for representations of individual soldiers or combat on the battlefield. Something akin to Lepanto or Charge of the Light Brigade.

I vaguely recall from my Junior English textbook that there was a school of poetry that came after WWI that wrote about the war, from both good and bad perspectives.


There’s “Dulce et Decorum Est” by Wilfred Owen. But it’s far from what you would call glorifying.

Would Tommy (by Kipling, natch) be along the lines of what you’re looking for?

This might be worth investing in. If you’re just looking for names to google then aside from Wilfred Owen there’s Siegfried Sassoon and Rupert Brooke. Some anthologies include translations by German poets too which you should also look at.

Hmm don’t think my link works :frowning: Anyway if you go to a site like Amazon they have plenty of good anthologies or you could try this site which has a lot of info about the poets as well as the poems with comments. (please work link, please work!)

I think Hemingway wrote some war poems. Also Rendezvous , “Out of the night that covers me…” is a war poem of that era.

Two poems I recall about the very young soldiers: :frowning:

Little Giffen

although I am pretty sure the latter is about the Civil War.

Not to confuse. Hemingway did not write the 3 poems I mentioned by name. I would look at his work though. I do recall some short poems by him regarding war.

May I ask if this is an assignment or work or just interest? Always interested in anyone’s interest in poetry.


In Flanders fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses, row on row,
That mark our place; and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.

We are the Dead. Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved, and were loved, and now we lie
In Flanders fields.

Take up our quarrel with the foe:
To you from failing hands we throw
The torch; be yours to hold it high.
If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In Flanders fields.

In Flanders Fields by Lt. Col. John Macrae (1872-1918)

How about Bill the Bomber by Robert Service?

You might try Alan Seeger[/COLOR].

@#%$% coding…

Alan Seeger

“Out of the night …” is the first line of the poem *Invictus. *

I think you meant *I have a Rendezvous with Death * by the aforementioned Alan Seeger.

I recommend locating a copy of this book (no small feat). I had a copy of an earlier edition, but lost it on a bus after barely cracking it…

Ah, but this book is still in print, fairly easily available, and excellent.

David Jones. In Parentheses. It’s in print. The best of that generation of war poets, if you ask me.

Thanks for the links all. There’s some good reading in them pages, stuff I’d never have come across otherwise. That Penguin books sounds like exactly what I’m looking for.

No, this is not for a class or anything. I don’t quite know what sparked a recent interest in this topic, but I figured I’d be able to weed through the chaff (as it were) by checking in here first.

Exactly what I was coming to post. First heard of it on a Peanuts special of all places. Very moving, even with Linus reciting it.

How about a little e. e. cummings?

Not actually poems, but Lord Dunsany (a serving officer) was commissioned by the British War Office in 1918 to write a series of short, morale-boosting pieces for magazines and newspapers.
There’s a slim book of them available called Tales of War - expanded edition published by Wildside Press, ISBN 1592240429. The 34 pieces occupy less than 100 pages, so they’re all pretty short - but also very moving at times. He was a great stylist in his writing and these sometimes have a cadence of poetry about them.

And a brief quote from the intro: “…the quietly mournful tone seems, at first, out of place [for propaganda] but it is precisely that tone which keeps the book honest and raises it above jingoism”

…another e e cummings poem… (slightly edited for general viewing)

i sing of Olaf glad and big
whose warmest heart recoiled at war:
a conscientious object-or

his wellbelov’d colonel(trig
westpointer most succinctly bred)
took erring Olaf soon in hand;
but–though an host of overjoyed
noncoms(first knocking on the head
him)do through icy waters roll
that helplessness which others stroke
with brushes recently employed
anent this muddy toiletbowl,
while kindred intellects evoke
allegiance per blunt instruments–
Olaf(being to all intents
a corpse and wanting any rag
upon what God unto him gave)
responds,without getting annoyed
“I will not kiss your f***ing flag”

straightway the silver bird looked grave
(departing hurriedly to shave)

but–though all kinds of officers
(a yearning nation’s blueeyed pride)
their passive prey did kick and curse
until for wear their clarion
voices and boots were much the worse,
and egged the firstclassprivates on
his rectum wickedly to tease
by means of skilfully applied
bayonets roasted hot with heat–
Olaf(upon what were once knees)
does almost ceaselessly repeat
“there is some sh*t I will not eat”

our president,being of which
assertions duly notified
threw the yellowsonofab*tch
into a dungeon,where he died

Christ(of His mercy infinite)
i pray to see;and Olaf,too

preponderatingly because
unless statistics lie he was
more brave than me:more blond than you.